Writer Resolutions For The New Year (And How You Can Achieve Them)

As one year draws to a close and a new one begins, we start with fresh eyes and the optimism that this will finally be the year that we achieve what we want, no matter how big or small those goals are.

If you’re a writer, your goals will revolve around putting words on the page. In January, these goals are lofty, hopeful, determined, and most likely unrealistic. All things you will realize by December. You will roll most of the list over to the next year, then the following year, and so on until it’s achieved or you declare that resolutions are lame and you aren’t making them anymore. You will also tick off some of those resolutions and feel smugly successful about it, for example, one of my 2017 goals was to start a blog and I did that. I also finished writing the fourth book in my YA supernatural series, which ticked off a resolution I’d been working on since 2001. 2018 will still involve working on the series to revise beta reader feedback and a few more editing passes, but as a whole, the series is complete and I can now—for the first time in a very long time—work on an entirely different story (a resolution which is as exciting as it is terrifying).

If you’re like me and the new year brings the possibility of new projects and the continuation of old goals, then please consider these guidelines for turning those ambitions into something achievable.

Be Realistic

Becoming a billionaire and befriending Beyoncé might look good tacked to your vision board, but the chances of it happening are pretty slim (sorry). When setting your goals, be realistic about what you can achieve, and don’t sell yourself short. Writing “published writer” on the top of your list might seem as unrealistic as jet-setting around the world with Bey and Jay-Z, but it is possible if you’re willing to put in the work and be flexible. You might have intended “published writer” to mean a traditional publishing contract, but it could also involve having articles published in magazines, short stories in anthologies, or your book self-published to Amazon. All are worthy goals—and realistic.

Be Organized

Setting a goal of writing every day is a great resolution, but if you aren’t organized to implement it, it will the first of your writer resolutions to fail. Organize a block of time to write. It can be the same time every morning, or a general getting-things-done-sometime-after-lunch deal, but make it a non-negotiable appointment and stick to it. Organize everything else around that specific time and have what you need on hand to guarantee that daily writing is a resolution you will keep.

Implement Writing Habits

The quickest way to turn a goal into a habit is to repeat the action often. Write for ten minutes a day until tapping the keyboard becomes as second nature as brushing your teeth. Get into the habit of tracking your progress. Mark down on a calendar, bullet journal, or a tracking app how many words you put down or what you did (organized ideas, wrote a blog, planned a town, put together a character bio) until you don’t want to go a day without making an entry. How many words you wrote, or how many hours it took doesn’t matter. You’re keeping track of the fact that you worked on your writing goals in some way for a string of consecutive days. That’s how I formed my daily writing habit. Now, apart from scheduled breaks, I work on my writing in some way every day and have done so solidly for the last four years.

Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

If you haven’t written a full-length book before, or proofread a fourth draft. If you have never plotted your novel from start to finish, or researched how to survive marooned on an island, then thinking you can dive into these tasks because the clock ticked over into a new year is as laughable as Beyoncé taking you to an island on her yacht because your new BFF wants your research to be as realistic as possible (again, not going to happen, sorry). Just like implementing your new writing habits, you need to ease into your writer resolutions. Work at the right pace and learn as you go. You have a whole year to progress through your goals, and if you can’t achieve them, or you have to drop or re-arrange them, then so be it. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t accomplish all of your goals, or if they don’t work out the way that you planned.

Celebrate

Every goal crossed off your list should be met with a celebration, and it doesn’t have to be reserved until the end of the year either. Marking off something as big as celebrating your book being published, or as small as writing for an hour, five days in a row should become a regular occurrence, either via a big party, something as small as buying yourself a new notebook, or going out to lunch. Any completed goal deserves your celebration, and you deserve an acknowledgment of what you’ve achieved. It’s hard work writing a book, keeping on top of social media, blogging, coming up with awesome story ideas, sending out your first query letter, or dealing with your first or twentieth rejection. Positive or negative, these experiences should be celebrated because you’ve faced your fear and done them!

While it’s very easy to sit at the start of January and talk about all of these wonderful goals, it’s also just as easy to achieve them if you want to. So, go ahead now and plot your writer resolutions for 2018—the new year has begun and is waiting for you!

— K.M. Allan

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245 thoughts on “Writer Resolutions For The New Year (And How You Can Achieve Them)

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  1. I agree most with the be realistic. This year, instead of having one big goal (which I never seem to accomplish), I give myself a list of small goals. I believe that when you achieve small goals, you can push yourself to achieve higher goals and the snowball will just keep rolling.

    Thanks for this article. I enjoyed it!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I declared this year to be a year of writing. These tips can surely help me in establishing my writing habits. Thank you for this!

    If you have time, please check my blog. It’s still new so I only have few posts. I am very open to suggestions, comments and reactions if u have any. Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. That last paragraph really resonates with me. It’s easy to get caught up in the fast-paced “get it done” lifestyle, I forget to slow down and appreciate my progress.

    Thanks for the post! Looking forward to reading more.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Your advice is both common sense (something that is entirely too uncommon) and practical. Great post!

    Personally, I broke 2018 into bucket goals that are not defined by amount of time spent per day or pages per week, but number of posts and journal entries in the year. This year, I want to publish 52 blog posts to my personal blog – to me it doesn’t matter if these posts are in the last month of the year or spread out once a week (though I do aim for this outcome). It is a less rigid approach to the same problem: habit forming.

    I really enjoyed your writing style and perspective – definitely following from now on!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. Love the aim of your goals and breaking them down into a numbered aim rather than a specific, timed deadline. That’s a great way to achieve things, and I wish you the best of luck with it 😊.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know! Isn’t it enough that you thought up the words? Now it’s expected that you actually have to physically put them down somewhere, too, and then keep improving them! Those words are getting a pretty good deal for not a lot of work on their part.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. My two resolutions for 2018 were to get along with the 21st century and start writing. So here I am: learning to blog, and making the time to put thoughts into words onto paper. Yes, I now carry a notebook and scribble things down for organising and posting later. It’s only January so who knows if I’ll give up in March but, hey, there is a routine. Thanks so much for writing this.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you for reading and taking time to comment. I love the sound of your goals and wish you luck with keeping them up. Failing by March happens to the best of us, but the good thing about starting new habits is that you can do them anytime, just not when it’s the start of a new year 😊.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Sometimes it is a lot easier to say you’ll do something versus putting it into action. I’ve found myself writing every now and then, lacking consistency and discipline. Guess that is all a part of learning time management since I am overseeing my WordPress blog along with personal/blog related social media pages. Very helpful tips, and I hope to see this positively impact my writing for the year!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What’s wonderful about this advice, is that these ideas and principles are relevant to anything that we want to accomplish (or want to do better). Thanks for the easy to read and thorough reminder of these (seemingly) simple tasks!

    Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Absolutely! Being new to the blogging world and working on getting my own up and running, they’re nice reminders to have in the midst of the chaos that entails “starting a blog.”

        Happy writing!

        Liked by 2 people

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